Titanic mission was alibi to find two US nuclear submarine wrecks

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London, May 25 (UNI) A mission to discover the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985, 73 years after it sank in Atlantic, was actually a cover story for examining the remains of two Cold War nuclear submarines, the man who discovered the famous liner has revealed.

The Titanic sank in 1912 after it hit an iceberg, killing 1,500 people.

Oceonographer Bob Ballard, who led the mission, recently admitted that he almost did not succeed after his top secret mission to locate and inspect the remains of the vessels left him with just 12 days to find the ship wreck.

''I couldn't tell anybody. There was a lot of pressure on me.

It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic,'' the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

The data was handed to the experts, Mr Ballard said, adding, ''Our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified.'' The US Navy had lost two submarines during the 1960s - the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion - which had more than 200 men on board.

Officials feared at least one of them had been sunk by the then USSR. When Dr Ballard approached the Navy for funding to find the Titanic using his robotic submarine craft, they asked him to discover the submarines first.

The USS Thresher (SSN-593) was the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered attack submarines. She was lost during deep-sea diving tests in 1963 after a high-pressure pipe blew causing the vessel to lose power and implode as it sank Officials were anxious to find out how the nuclear reactors had fared after being under water for so long.

The USS Scorpion disappeared in 1968 amid speculation that it was sunk by then Soviet forces.

Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks and concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a torpedo it had fired itself.

Later, he found the Titanic split in two but had little time to explore further. It was not until he returned to the site in 1986 that he was able to make a detailed study.

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